Month: July 2014

Incompatible Truths

seamless fire flames border

My new short story, “Incompatible Truths,” has been published in The Summerset Review Winter 2014 issue.

An excerpt of the story is below:

For thirteen months now, Keller had wanted to burn the old Silverton house. It was a decaying two-story Victorian he’d discovered when he first moved to town. He’d taken a drive to investigate possibilities. He liked weary abandoned places, where time gathered softly like dust. Past the church and the pond, and past the old town library, with its bricks and bay windows, he found a driveway leading into the woods. He parked at the entrance. His feet crunched on the gravel, as loudly as a person breathing in an empty room.

He ignored the blackened “No Trespassing” sign, a futile sentry at the foot of the weed-grown yard. He inspected the house. The light blue paint was peeling. One of the upper windows had been cracked, fractures spidering out from the central eye. The railing of the front porch had broken loose from the siding; it dangled over a patch of wild daisies, as though it might jump to join them.

Most people felt disquieted by signs of the town’s decay. They dreaded shuttered stores and houses surrendered to dust. They turned their eyes from boarded windows, rusted cars, crumbling sidewalks claimed by tree roots. Most of all they feared the silence. It crept up on them in their homes, stealing silently like water spreading across the floor. Young people fled to cities, where noise obscured the sound of crumbling time.

But Keller liked the silence; he saw anonymity behind stands of trees. He saw lonely houses, aching for release from the emptiness of their rooms. He strode through the weeds and over broken steps onto the porch of the Silverton house, resting his hand on the windowsill. The wood was cracked and dry.

Read the rest at The Summerset Review.

The Beech Tree

Beech

My story “The Beech Tree” has been published in Literary Orphans Issue 13: Blondie (April 2014).

Read some of the story below:

Until I stood before her casket, Grandma was the only person I could not imagine dead. She’d looked as aged as ever when I saw her days before, a husk of raisin wrinkles, already so wizened it seemed time could do nothing else.  I thought she could live for centuries.  But now she lay still in her woolen dress; her lucent eyes were closed.  Her hands were leathered and grey, like the bark of an ancient beech.

The room was dim, the air thick with the scent of white chrysanthemums.  Mark stood behind me.  He was always watching for signs of slippage.  I leaned back against him, his body warm with concern.  I could feel right through him, through membrane and muscle, to dry, stiff bones beneath.  His skin felt like an apple peel: too soft to stop the flesh from bruising and falling away.

Continue reading at Literary Orphans.